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Thursday, November 6, 1997 Published at 09:05 GMT


Dutch fans blamed for football violence

English fans were attacked on their way to the game

Dutch fans were blamed for a series of clashes with Manchester United supporters before Wednesday night's Champions' League game against Feyenoord.

Trouble also flared in the De Kuip stadium in Rotterdam, but the city was quiet after the match, which United won 3-1.

Rotterdam police said a group of around 35 Feyenoord fans threw stones at coaches carrying Manchester United fans as they made their way into the stadium. Nobody was injured but a number of windows were smashed. Police broke up the disturbance.

Adrian Titcombe, the Football Association's Head of Security, who attended the match in an observer's role, said it seemed the incident had been entirely caused by Feyenoord supporters.

He added: "The Dutch police have told me that stones and bricks were thrown at a number of the United fans' coaches and the police had to intervene.

"From all the reports I had it appears the aggressors were the Dutch supporters and the police seem to be confirming that nothing of any real significance happened."

[ image: Feyenoord supporters had been waiting in a bar]
Feyenoord supporters had been waiting in a bar
Police said Dutch fans also tried to lure English supporters into a pub for a confrontation before the game. More than 100 police raided the pub before the game to avert trouble. A window was smashed in the struggle to restore order.

Inspector Hans Stoop of Rotterdam police said: "A large group of Dutch fans had been in the pub all afternoon and it would seem that one fan had deliberately tried to guide a group of English fans straight into the pub to start a confrontation.

"Luckily around 100 officers got there just in time to avoid a major clash and four Dutch fans were arrested for minor offences."

A Manchester United fan was injured during a separate incident a short distance away from the pub. He was taken to hospital where he was treated for minor head injuries.

There were some angry scenes inside the stadium before the game and at half-time. At one point fans came face to face when a partition door was pushed open by Dutch fans, but police rushed in to act as a buffer.

Rotterdam was quiet after the match. One Manchester United fan was arrested and will face a charge of public violence on Friday. Police said it was not a serious matter.

Police said 17 Dutch fans were arrested and 17 United fans were sent home without seeing the match.

Most of the Manchester United supporters went straight home by train and coach after the game, closely monitored by police reinforcements called in after the pre-match trouble. Police remained on the streets in case of trouble.

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